Violins quiver, bows strike, pull, push, strings pulsate to the beat of the harpsichord’s twang. Shadows dance round and round, through the center, along the perimeter, hoop skirts flounce, tails sail, the light shimmers between the folds of the curtains, around the length of the arms that encircle one another in the proper mating dance. The pace quickens, the dancers pin ball across the room; my watching mind and eyes driven by the whirling dervish of non-stop violin and harpsichord, all treble clef sixteenth notes.
Ah, the musicians have moved on to flute, violin and harpsichord. Lovely. And some eighth notes.
Thank goodness. The pace on the first piece was non-stop into drivel, pounding away at the ears, pounding away at the brain, pounding away at the muscles, pounding away into foot tapping, pounding away into pulses that fire the fingers into hard pounding, pounding away on all the wrong keys.
Violin answers violin, violin dances in partnership with violin, flute leads violin, violins join to follow, they sway from treble clef to bass clef and the ears are happy to have some deeper sound, if you get my drift. All those high notes can get to you after a while, right? Add some bass and basso profondo and give the ears a break, why don’tcha?
The light trilling of the high flute is airy and dainty, skipping across meadows searching for a perch, while the contra-alto flute is sorrow and depth and longing and hunger fed by its miseries, its moves more ponderous; its expressions richer. Together they plumb the heights and depths of emotions buried yet cascading to the surface in an upward belch of beauty.
My eyes are drawn to the inner door opening. An overweight woman comes through the doorway, makes her way stiffly to the outside door, opens the door and leaves.
The spell is broken. I pull out my ear-buds and lose Bach and the orchestra.
The ballroom with its dancers is replaced with this waiting room, old asbestos twelve-inch, off-white floor tiles polished to a bright shine, plastic molded chairs in chartreuse with a slight dip to the seat and curve to the back, in the same shade of chartreuse as the freshly painted walls contrasting to the white counters and paperwork. Unusual to be in a waiting room where there are only two décor colors. No framed pictures of flowers or meadows or mountains. The only things on the walls are the posters touting the benefits of regular doctor care and employer minimum wage requirements. They’re white with black print readable only up close. From a distance, they make their own type wall decoration. I’ve noticed of late that many doctors’ offices have no magazines, in fact, no reading material at all, in their waiting rooms. Good thing I brought my iPod for listening.
I put the ear-buds back in and Bach returns. I close my eyes and instead of ballrooms and dancers, I see the reason people are here, the reason people disappear into the inner door, the reason the nurses go through paperwork and the reason they call people’s names and the reason for all the chartreuse and white.
It’s to camouflage the red that flows behind that inner door; the red that’s collected through sharps into small vials with rubber stoppers, the red that will be centrifuged, the red that will be shipped and messengered, the red that could result in bad news, and tears, and fear, and dread; the red that could result in no news because no news is good news, right?
The harpsichord and violin soar and the red flies upward, painting the chartreuse with dots, with streams, with puddles, with cascades, with spurts, with fountains. It bounces with each note, settles in the rests, spins with the flute, sprays on the crescendo and with the retard of the last bar, coalesces back into the vials and pulls on the rubber stopper hats.
“Ready to go?”
My eyes open. My friend is standing in front of me, a wad of cotton under a piece of tape on the inside crook of her arm so that no more of her red escapes. I’m only here as designated driver. My red is safe. I’m happy to exit the chartreuse and white, to leave the collected red behind. I know one day I’ll have to give up my red, but not today. Today, I escape.